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Joseph Parker set to make big decision about boxing future

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker 25-2 (19) will meet with his family and team on Wednesday night to explore options for his boxing future.

Parker’s promoter David Higgins has called the meeting to discuss a number of deals that are believed to include signing with Top Rank and ESPN, joining forces with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, or remaining independent from the sport’s big promoters.

“This week or next fortnight will be a pivotal period in terms of Joseph Parker’s career and some major decisions are going to be made, including the possibility of a restructure,” Higgins said to Stuff.co.nz on Tuesday.

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“There are competing interests trying to get a stranglehold on the sport… competing interests with big resources behind them and that puts Joseph Parker in a very interesting position.”

With the leading heavyweights aligned with different promoters and networks, there are a number of pros and cons to consider.

Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is with Matchroom and DAZN; WBC champion Deontay Wilder fights on Showtime; and Tyson Fury recently signed on with Top Rank and ESPN.

“Joseph is one of the later cabs on the rank in terms of committing longer term to one of those major players,” Higgins continued.

“He is yet to show what he is capable of. He is the youngest of the bigger names and he has had a bit of a run of bad luck. I don’t think we have seen the best of Joseph Parker.

“In economic terms, he’s an under-valued asset.

“He wants a second run at the world title and unification. The question is how is he going to do it? All options will be placed on the table at the summit meeting.”

Higgins hasn’t ruled out maintaining the status quo and pursuing a fight against perennial contender Dereck Chisora in July.

“Imagine if we don’t commit yet and we go and knock out Chisora at the O2 Arena in London on Sky Sport globally… suddenly Joe’s stocks go through the roof and the world’s his oyster. We could legitimately call for a rematch with [Dillian] Whyte and the sort of offer for longer-term deals might double in value,” Higgins added.

Regardless of the result of the summit, Higgins insists he will remain a guiding figure in Parker’s career.

“I’ll always be involved… that’s not the issue here. If there’s a restructure then the roles might be redefined. But there might not be… there’s no ego here for me. It’s purely a rational and analytical exercise.”

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